December 9th 2018
A year and a half ago at Amami Airport, a wheelchair, Hideto Kijima (45) was not allowed assistance to board a “Vanilla Air” flight, and was forced to crawl up the ramp. However, criticism was directed also to Mr. Kijima and was slandered as “Kramer” (claimer) and a “Professional Disabled Person” One and a half year later, Kijima was asked about what he thinks about the situation regarding disabled people in Japan.
Kijima says that his experience with Vanilla Air raises the problem of how we think of natural rights as a human beings.
“In Japan, the idea of” right to move “is missing. It is not a problem only for people with disabilities. In rural areas, public transportation declines for business reasons and elderly people who can not drive a car are inconvenienced… “
Kijima consulted with Kagoshima and Osaka prefectures about his correspondence of Vanilla air. Vanilla Air apologized to Mr. Kijima and introduced apparatus to help people to claim stairs. The Japanese government demanded that airline companies to make their services wheelchair accessible from October this year. Kijima said:
“We evaluated the responses of administrators and Vanilla Air afterwards as an example for improvements based on the Disabled Discrimination Resolution Law that prohibits use of service due to disability,”
Meanwhile, Kijima has been criticised for not contacting Vanilla Air beforehand:
“I did not on purpose. I did not notice that I had to contact beforehand when I made a reservation through the internet…To begin with, I do not need help with excessive burden of getting on an airplane, so I think that it does not matter if I ride without contacting in advance. Please contact me in advance, it takes a lot of time and effort There are many things to do…Advance contact may be a kind of filter to eliminate people with disabilities.”
When speaking of his thinking about attitudes and labels applied to disabled people:
I do not express myself as a” disabled person “but say” I am in a wheelchair. “For me, not being able to walk is only a characteristic.”
“I am not a disabled person because I can collect information and dispatch without inconvenience in front of a PC.When I can go to the place I want to go without barrier inconvenience as barrier- There will be no obstacles to it. ”
Mr. Kijima continues:
“I think that it is good to create a society in which choices are not narrowed by labels and attributes such as” Because it is a disabled person “” Because it is a foreigner “” Because it is a woman “” Because it is a single parent ”
“Of course, it depends on the effort of the person himself / herself whether such efforts produce a result, but I think everyone should challenge themselves to do something without being bound by the label that others go by.”